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BC Hockey Goes 0-for-the-Weekend

1/22/2010 - Boston College 4, Boston University 5 (OT) - 12-7-2, 9-5-2 Hockey East
1/23/2010 - Boston College 1, UMass-Lowell 3 - 12-8-2, 9-6-2 Hockey East

One of the perks of when archrivals Boston College and Boston University hit the ice is that the game is likely to be televised. This was the case when BC hosted BU in the rubber match of the regular season series on Friday night. So even though I’m currently living in Chicago, I was fortunate enough to DVR the BC-BU game on NESN Friday night and watch back the replay on Sunday.

First, let’s talk about the final penalty called on Cam Atkinson with 38.7 seconds to play. I just don’t understand how in the referee’s right mind he can make that call and not swallow the whistle at that point in the game. The tripping call on Atkinson was the result of what appeared to be a harmless slash of a BU player (and a pretty good Terrier flop). The penalty on Atkinson, along with the Malcolm Lyles boarding call, were tremendous acting jobs on the part of the Terriers. On the boarding call, the BU skater seemed to go into the boards awkwardly, but stayed down on the ice long enough to get the call. As soon as the whistle blew, he popped right back up and skated towards the BU bench.

What was curious about the Atkinson penalty was that the referees, after calling a combined 9 penalties in the first period, and 14 through two, mostly let the teams play in the third without blowing the whistle. Coach York was upset at a non-call on Pat Mullane, questioning the consistency of the calls in the third period. However, Coach York took the high road saying that the penalty on Atkinson was not the reason BC lost the game. I’ll also take the high road. The final penalty and subsequent BU power play goal in overtime wasn’t the difference in this game.

Parker Milner’s BC-BU Introduction. Despite the final score, I thought Milner played well in his first game against the Terriers. Of the five goals scored against Milner, I can’t really think of a goal that wasn’t scored by

  1. A defensive breakdown, a BU odd-man rush and a ridiculously sweet one-timer over Milner’s gloveside
  2. A puck literally batted through the air into the net
  3. Another defensive breakdown and a BU player skating in all alone
  4. A re-deflection off a BC defender's skate

For all that Milner did in net on Friday night (a career high 26 saves), his counterpart Kieran Miller had an even better game. Miller stopped 42 shots on the night to improve to 6-10-0 on the season. Miller looked more like his dominant NCAA Championship form than probably at any other time this season.

Young D. Not to pour it on the new guys, but BC's young defense looked just that on Friday night ... young. BC's first three goals were the direct result of misplayed pucks and odd-man breaks created from missed assignments. Malcolm Lyles was playing in only his 5th collegiate game while Patch Alber made his collegiate debut. Both were filling in for BC's injured defensemen Patrick Wey and Tommy Cross. Lyles, in particular, didn't have a great night against BU. He finished -1 on the night and his boarding penalty late in the second period allowed BU's Nick Bonino to score on the powerplay to make it 4-2. Hopefully Lyles and Alber's play can improve as they continue to fill-in for Wey and Cross.

Kreider Returns to Team USA Form. Now that's the Chris Kreider I saw play in the World Juniors for Team USA. Kreider doubled his collegiate goal tally on Friday night, scoring 2 even strength goals to bring his career total to 4 goals (4-3-7). Kreider showcased his speed and instincts on Friday night, being in the right place at the right time on two beautiful one time redirections right in front of BU goaltender Kieran Miller. Kreider's second goal was the result of a great individual effort by Jimmy Hayes, who beat the BU defender 1-on-1 and set Kreider up for the deflection.

Other Notes

While I didn't get to watch BC's 3-1 loss to UMass-Lowell on Saturday night, it sounds like the Eagles weren't without their chances. Two disallowed goals and a non-icing call were the difference in this one. BC got three chances to tie the game in the third. Twenty seconds into the game, Ben Smith scored what seemed to be the equalizer but was waved off after review after it was determined he knocked the puck in with his hand. The second from Kreider caromed off the left post. And the third, in what appeared to be a shorthanded goal from Brian Dumoulin, was disallowed as it was ruled that the net fell off its moorings before the puck crossed the line.

The Eagles dropped back-to-back Hockey East games for the first time this season. The two losses, combined with a 2 point weekend for UMass, leave BC tied with Massachusetts for second in the Hockey East standings with 20 points. UNH grew their lead in Hockey East to 5 points with a 4 point weekend (victories over Providence and BU).

Boston College next hosts Providence on Friday night, followed by Harvard in the first round of the Beanpot.